Best way to transfer large amounts of money internationally

Your bank may be more convenient to transfer large amounts of money, but a money transfer specialist will probably offer a better deal.

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It’s common for people to send large amounts of money abroad and the best way will depend on your specific situation. When making your decision, it is important to take into consideration things like fees, exchange rate markups, speed and more.

What are the best ways to transfer large amounts of money overseas?

  1. International money transfer specialist
  2. Cash-to-cash transfers
  3. Bank-to-bank transfers
  4. International bank draft
  5. Prepaid debit card

1. International money transfer specialist

You will find that money transfer specialists often offer more competitive exchange rates and charge lower fees than banks. Currency brokers such as TorFX specialise in large currency transactions, making the process less of a headache. Other transfer providers like Wise are suited towards regular, smaller transfers due to their fee structure.

Pros

  • Typically cheaper than bank transfers.
  • Many transfer specialists have personal account managers to provide step-by-step guidance.
  • Diverse payment options, including payment by credit card, debit card, bank account and more.
  • Can be sent entirely online.

Cons

  • Many options exist, so finding the best one may seem tricky.
  • Some money transfer specialists don’t have transparent fees and exchange rates.
  • You have to trust a company with your money, so vetting them is important.

We’ve vetted our favourite money transfer specialists for you to save time and money. However, if you would rather compare providers yourself, you can use our comparison table to find the best option. When you have made your choice, simply click Go to site.

Compare money transfer specialists

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
1 - 20 of 20
Name Product Filter values Ratings Pay by Receiving options Fastest transfer Fee (pay by bank transfer) Key benefits
OFFER
TorFX
Finder rating
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
£0
Get a £50 Amazon voucher for each friend you refer who transfers £5,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
Key Currency
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
OFFER
Wise (TransferWise)
Finder rating
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account, Alipay (China only)
Within minutes
From 0.41%
Refer 3 friends to receive up to £50 referral bonus
Equals Money Account
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
3 hours
£0
OFX
Finder rating
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
CurrencyTransfer
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
OFFER
Currencies Direct
Finder rating
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
Get a £50 Amazon voucher for each friend you refer who transfers £5,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
DISCOUNT
PassTo
Finder rating
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet
Within minutes
From £1.40
No fees on your first transfer. Refer 3 friends to PassTo and earn £50 once they each make a transfer of at least £200. They'll earn £5 too. T&Cs apply.
OFFER
Atlantic Money
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
£3
Pay no fees on your first Atlantic Money transaction with this link.
FairFX
Not rated yet
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account
24 hours
£0
Remitly
Finder rating
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet, Home delivery
Within minutes
From £0
OFFER
CurrencyFair
Finder rating
★★★★★
Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
€3
New customers get unlimited fee-free transfers for their first 3 months. T&Cs apply.
OFFER
WorldRemit
Finder rating
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer, Apple Pay
Cash pickup location, Bank account, Mobile wallet, Home delivery, Prepaid phone credit
Within minutes
From £1.99
Use promo code 3FREE and pay no fees on your first 3 transfers. Conditions apply.
OFX
Finder rating
★★★★★
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
TorFX Business
Finder rating
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
£0
Currencies Direct Business
Finder rating
★★★★★
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
OFX Business
Not rated yet
Credit card, Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
£0
CurrencyFair Business
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
Within minutes
€3
Zero fees on your first 10 transfers. T&Cs apply.
WorldFirst Business
Not rated yet
Debit card, Bank transfer
Bank account, Mobile wallet
24 hours
£0
Lloyds Bank International Transfers
Not rated yet
Bank transfer
Bank account
24 hours
Varies
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2. Cash-to-cash transfers

Sending money for cash pickup is a convenient way to complete your international money transfer, particularly if you or your recipient is under or unbanked. There are several companies that offer cash-to-cash transfers including Ria Money Transfer, MoneyGram and Western Union. Finding the right company for your cash-to-cash transfer is important, so make sure to compare your options.

Pros

  • Recipient doesn’t need a bank account.
  • Sender doesn’t need a bank account.
  • Cash transfers often transfer faster than bank-to-bank transfers.

Cons

  • Most cash-to-cash specialists have a maximum sending limit.
  • Large amounts of cash will have to be picked up by the recipient, which could be dangerous.
  • Higher fees are typically applied to cash-to-cash transfers, compared to using an international money specialist that transfers to a bank account.

Finding the right company to send your cash-to-cash transfer is important, so compare your options to figure out which company sends to your preferred destination and offers the lowest fees and strongest exchange rates.

3. Bank-to-bank transfers

While most banks are able to initiate an overseas transfer, they tend to be the most expensive option. When dealing with smaller transfers, the ease of using your local bank can be worth the fees and unfavourable exchange rate. But for larger transfers, you’ll see a noticeable cut taken. It is also worth keeping in mind that your bank may have wire transfer limits in place, so you’ll need to ask ahead of time if you plan on making a large international wire transfer over a certain amount. UK banks typically add a 3% to 6% markup on exchange rates while transfer providers mostly range from 0.5% to 3%.

  • Wire transfer. This is where you can send money directly from your bank account to another bank account, usually by filling out a form with the contact and account details of the recipient. This tends to be the more expensive option, and you should double-check how much your bank charges for outgoing international transfers before sending money.

Pros

  • You already trust your bank with your money.
  • You can typically initiate the transfer online, in-person or by phone.
  • You don’t have to trust any companies with your money.

Cons

  • More expensive than other options due to markup.
  • Typically far slower than other options.
  • Have to pay with funds that are already in your bank account.

4. International bank draft

An international bank draft is issued by a bank on behalf of the payer. It allows another bank, typically in another country, to draw funds directly from the issuing bank. International bank drafts can be drawn in a foreign currency, removing the need to speculate on future exchange rates.

Overall, international bank drafts operate similarly to domestic orders sent within the UK, except that they are created in a foreign currency.

Pros

  • Accepted in many parts of the world.
  • Relatively cost effective when compared to wire transfers between international banks.
  • Can only be cashed at a bank by the person listed on the international bank draft.

Cons

  • Slow, as they have to be physically mailed or hand delivered between countries.
  • Difficult and time consuming to replace if lost or stolen.

5. Prepaid debit cards

With some services, you can send funds via a prepaid debit card. The sender loads a prepaid debit card with cash funds. The recipient can then withdraw them using the prepaid debit card. Alternatively, you can transfer money from the prepaid card to a bank or card account.

Prepaid debit cards tend not to charge transfer fees. However, you will most likely have to pay an activation fee or monthly fee.

Pros

  • Relatively cost effective when compared to bank transfers
  • Recipient doesn’t need a bank account
  • You can lock in a set exchange rate

Cons

  • Most prepaid debit cards carry an activation fee or a monthly fee
  • There may be a limit on how much you can load onto the card

Frequently asked questions

Finder survey: What aspects of an international money transfer service matter most to Brits when choosing one?

31% of people who would use a money transfer service said exchange rate was the most important aspect in choosing a brand.

Response
Exchange rate31.3%
Fees/commission29.13%
Don't know24.2%
Security24.2%
Speed of transfer23.48%
Range of payment methods14.78%
Customer service14.06%
Overall amount recipient gets13.77%
Provider reputation12.32%
Range of pick-up methods12.03%
Source: Finder survey by Censuswide of Brits, December 2023

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    LucianoApril 26, 2018

    Who is your agent in Margao, Goa please ? How many pounds will my relative in UK get for Rs 5 lakhs and how many days will it take for the transfer please ?

      AvatarFinder
      JeniApril 27, 2018Finder

      Hi Luciano,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      500,000 Indian Rupees is equivalent to 5,373.17 British Pounds.

      As a friendly reminder, while we do not represent any company we feature on our pages, we can offer you general advice.

      In this page, you’ll see list of money transfer providers that you can choose to have your transaction with. You can contact these providers directly if they can assist you sending your money to Margao, Gao in India. All providers we link to are either FCA authorised or FCA registered, meaning that your money has a degree of protection from when it’s sent to when it has arrived. Most providers can realistically deliver your funds within a day, though allowing for 2-3 days is advised.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

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